Cultural Infrastructures and Mobility in Brussels Metropolitan Area

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Brussels: mobility (red) and cultural infrastructures (blue)
  • Yannick Vanhaelen
  • Judith le Maire

The advent of concepts such as the « attractive city » and the « creative city » in urban policies has seen cultural infrastructures becoming strategic elements of urban redevelopment and city marketing. Today those iconic developments are rarely undertaken without an efficient public mobility connection, as their accessibility is considered a paramount stake for a renewed metropolitan attractiveness. Cultural infrastructures and mobility can thus be considered intertwined in current urban redevelopments, creating new public polarities in contemporary metropolises and participating to the creation of new cityscape identities. Yet those elements – cultural infrastructures, mobility and public polarities (and their planning) – have mainly been investigated separately, without articulating this relationship.

This is precisely the aim of this research thesis: to investigate, both in the past but also prospectively, this relationship on the territory of the Brussels metropolitan area, considered here as its future RER zone. How does mobility influence the localisation of cultural infrastructures? How does those implementation logics evolve? What impact does it have on their architecture? On their visibility or the definition of their public space?

On a larger scale, documenting these evolution can also help to understand the evolution of the metropolis as a whole. Our hypothesis being that the relationship between cultural infrastructure and mobility plays currently an important role, albeit underestimated, in the metropolisation process, taking part in new polarities and urban networks that decrease the importance of the pre-existing radio concentric system and redefine the metropolitan identity.